The Purpose of a Good Sermon
Trust and respect are earned . . . not appointed.
One Pastor's Thoughts . . .
What is the purpose of a sermon? Perhaps the most common response to this question is, "To teach." Well, sermons may provide instruction, but teaching is not the main purpose of a sermon. The chief purpose of the sermon in the context of worship is to be an occasion for an experience, an occasion for an encounter with God, and to offer a choice, an opportunity to respond to God.
In this section . . .
In short, the purpose of a sermon is to connect people to Jesus Christ is some way. This may include different approaches over a given period of time. Fifty-two weeks of sermons in a year should focus on a variety of things:
~ Themes of Lent
Prayer, suffering, crucifixion, seeking God
~ Parables and the teaching of Jesus
~ Vision of the local church
~ Missions/giving yourself away
~ Christian stewardship and giving
~ Encouragement and hope
~ The Christian family
Our mission is connecting people to Jesus Christ and that is the purpose of a sermon. A sermon is not primarily a time to teach people the Bible. A sermon is a time to help people confront God's word and apply it to their lives.
In seminary, we were taught that a sermon begins with one scripture and is based on one scripture. The topic of the day is based on one passage. After that passage is read, the job of the pastor is to “open” that text, to make it come alive. To help it become a practical, applied part of the hearer's life. That scripture is the key focus of the sermon. If other scriptures are used in conjunction with the core passage, that is fine, but it is not necessary and should not be done just so that lots of scripture can be in the message. Additional scriptures used in the sermon, like illustrations and personal stories should only be used when they are effective in delivering the message of the day.
Sermons should do many things. They should challenge, uplift, and encourage. They can include many different parts: A key scripture reading, illustrations, stories, poems, personal stories, etc. A key component to a sermon is to ask the listener to change in some way. A sermon should hold up the information in a way that the scripture proclaims the truth and invites the hearer to follow Jesus Christ.
Occasionally I hear from folks who do not like my sermons. They are too short, they don't have enough Bible, they were on the wrong topics, etc. Everyone has their idea about what a sermon should look like. I am doing the best that I can to hold up a key piece of scripture every week and deliver a message that asks people to encounter Jesus Christ and to make positive changes in their lives.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If I can help you understand my approach to ministry or what we are trying to do at Woods Chapel, please feel free to call me. My doors are always open. I love you.